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Piute County Genealogical Resources
Native American Resources
Extracted Documents Relating to the
"Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Restoration Act" of 1983
(the unabridged documents will be posted when time permits)
Public Law 96-227
Hearing before the Select Committee on Indian Affairs, 2 November 1983Statement of Patrick Charles
Supporting Documentation Prepared for the House Interior and Insular Affairs CommitteeChapter 1: Socio-Economic Status of the Paiutes
Chapter 2: Historical PerspectiveEarly History
Establishment of Reservations
Indian Reorganization Act
Indian Claims Commission
Chapter 3: Reservation Planning Process
An Act to restore to the Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands of Paiute Indians of Utah, and with respect to the Cedar City Band of Paiute Indians of Utah, to restore or confirm, the Federal trust relationship, to restore to members of such Bands those Federal services and benefits furnished to American Indian Tribes by reason of such trust relationship, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Restoration Act".
Sec. 2. For the purposes of this Act --
(1) the term "tribe" means the Cedar City, Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands of Paiute Indians of Utah;
(4) the term "member", when used with respect to the tribe, means a person enrolled on the membership roll of the tribe, as provided in section 4 of this Act; and
(5) the term "final membership roll" means the final membership roll of the tribe published on April 15, 1955, on pages 2499 through 2503 of volume 20 of the Federal Register and on April 14, 1956, on pages 2453 through 2456 of volume 21 of the Federal Register.
Sec. 3. (a) The Federal trust relationship is restored to the Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands of Paiute Indians of Utah and restored or confirmed with respect to the Cedar City Band of Paiute Indians of Utah. The provisions of the Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984) as amended, except as inconsistent with specific provisions of this Act, are made applicable to the tribe and the members of the tribe. The tribe and the members of the tribe shall be eligible for all Federal services and benefits furnished to federally recognized Indian tribes. Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary in any law establishing such services or benefits, eligibility of the tribe and its members for such Federal services and benefits shall become effective upon enactment of this Act without regard to the existence of a reservation for the tribe or the residence of members of the tribe on a reservation...
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), all rights and privileges of the tribe and of members of the tribe under any Federal treaty, Executive order, agreement, or statute, or under any other authority, which were diminished or lost under the Act of September 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 1099), are hereby restored, and such Act shall be inapplicable to the tribe and to members of the tribe after the date of enactment of this Act.
(c) This Act shall not grant or restore any hunting, fishing, or trapping right of any nature, including any indirect or procedural right or advantage, to the tribe or any member of the tribe.
(d) Except as specifically provided in this Act, nothing in this Act shall alter any property right or obligation, any contractual right or obligations, or any obligation for taxes already levied.
Sec. 4. (a) The final membership roll is declared open. The Secretary, the Interim Council, and tribal officials under the tribal constitution and bylaws shall take such measures as will insure the continuing accuracy of the membership roll.
(b)(1) Until after the initial election of tribal officers under the tribal constitution and bylaws, a person shall be a member of the tribe and his name shall be placed on the membership roll if he is living and if --
(A) his name is listed on the final membership roll;
(B) he was entitled on September 1, 1954, to be on the final membership roll but his name was not listed on that roll;
(C) he is a descendant of a person specified in subparagraph (A) or (B) and possesses at least one-fourth degree of blood of members of the tribe or their Paiute Indian ancestors;
(D) his name is listed on the roll established pursuant to ... [pertains to Cedar City band only]
United States Senate, Ninety-Eighth Congress, First Session,
on H.R. 2898,
to Declare Certain Lands to be Held in Trust for the Benefit of
the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.
November 2, 1983.
Statement of Patrick Charles, Koosharem Band, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, before the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee on H.R. 2898, July 14, 1983.
My name is Patrick Charles. I am a member of the Koosharem Band of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Thank you for the opportunity appear before you today.
I know that it is not a new fact, and it has been said many times before, but for many years, the Paiute was free to roam the land and set up his own encampments wherever he chose to do so. To the Paiutes, as well as many other Native American tribes, the land was not to be owned. True, they did have their set boundaries. But to say they owned this particular piece of land would be absurd.
The different bands of Paiutes made their homes in the southern part of Utah. They lived not only in the desert regions, but also in the mountains. For the Paiutes, the mountains were where they could go to hunt an d fish during the summer months. They also sought the mountains in order to hold many of their ceremonies.
For instance, Fish Lake is an area with strong historical, cultural, and emotional ties for the Tribe. Summer ceremonies were held on the south shore. Hunting, fishing, wild potatoes, and berries were plentiful. These natural things still exist at Fish Lake. Our oldest member of the Paiute Tribe, Florence Kanosh, was born at Fish Lake, and she still tells stories about the summer festivities at Fish Lake. This area is also important because of the Paiute ancestral burial sites that are located throughout the Fish Lake area.
Since restoration, we have again begun to celebrate at Fish Lake. In our summer youth program, tribal children are taught about native plants that are used for ceremonial and medicinal purposes. Having a special access to Fish Lake will stimulate development of cultural pride and the overall programs by the Tribe to develop our Paiute human resources.
In the desert region, the Paiute would spend the cool winter months. But they were still free to roam the vast acres of land. It was only after the white man entered and took over much of the fertile lands that the Paiute were forced to live their lives on land that the white man did not want. The Paiute lived their lives there without so much as a complaint.
The Southern Paiutes were never ones to formally organize themselves as a tribe. So when it came time for termination, they were not really ready to handle all the responsibilities that they were being given. True, many promises were given to the Paiutes. But even if these promises were kept, they only benefited a few people. Many others were left on their own to swim or drown. Many of the lands that were given to them were lost either by selling the land or losing it through not paying property tax, a foreign concept to most Paiutes at the time.
It has only been recently that the Southern Paiute has been given a chance to regain some lost dignity. Since the reinstatement of the Southern Paiute, they have, for the first time, united for a cause. They have done what they can do as a people, with the support of the federal government.
One of the biggest benefits of reinstatement will be the reestablishment of lands for the Paiute. The Southern Paiute has always known the importance of land. Land will provide homelands and an opportunity to improve our situation. The Koosharem Band, for instance, lives primarily on land leased by the LDS Church. The lease on the land expires in 1988, and we do not know if it can be renewed. My band lives on that land through the goodness of the Church. Even so, the housing situation is not good, and as many as six or seven people live in small two-or three-room houses. Many of these houses have no indoor plumbing and many are still heated with coal or wood.
These lands will also benefit the tribe economically. We will be able to develop the land and to provide employment opportunities for our people. We have many unemployed in our band; for the tribe as a whole, we have over 45 percent unemployment. This leads to alcoholism, which continues to be a problem for the tribe and, even worse, suicide. We recently lost a young 18-year-old boy from our band. He was unemployed, felt he had nothing, and no future, and committed suicide. We need to be able to help our people find work and regain their self-dignity.
We do not want to have to rely heavily on federal support. We, as Southern Paiutes, want to be able to stand on our own two feet.
Prepared for the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee
on H.R. 2898 by the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
July 14, 1983.
Socio-Economic Status of the Paiutes
The legislative history of the Restoration Act documents the poor socio-economic condition of the Paiutes at the time of termination through the year the congressional hearings on the Restoration Act were held. (See, generally, Hearing, Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, S. 1273, November 8, 1979.)
In 1968, the Bureau of Indian Affairs socio-economic survey of the Paiutes reveals their situation had not materially changed since they were terminated 14 years earlier. Their housing situation was extremely poor and the average family income was substantially below that of their white neighbors. (See, Social and Economic Survey of the Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, Indian Peaks and Cedar City Bands of Paiute Indians, U.S. Department of Interior, 1968.)
At the time of the hearing on the restoration of Federal recognition to the Paiutes, testimony and documentation entered of record verify the Paiute socio-economic condition had not changed substantially since termination. The per capita income of the Utah Paiutes was $1,968.00 compared to approximately $7,000.00 for the Utah population in general. (See, Senate Hearing. idem.)
Two years after passage of the Restoration Act, no substantial change has taken place in the lives of the Paiutes which would indicate a major improvement in their health and welfare. The proposed Reservation Plan includes a survey which was conducted to determine the socio-economic condition of the members of the Tribe. The per capita income of tribal members is less than one-third the state average and less than one-fourth the U.S. average, well below the official Federal poverty level. The average educational level is 9.1 years. The Paiutes are classified as a Level V Tribe by the Indian Health Service. Level V means the members are 80%-100% deficient of health care services. The Paiute Tribe is one of only a few tribes in the United States in this category. Forty-five percent (45%) of the tribal members are unemployed. (See, Chapter 4, Socioeconomic Profile of the Tribe, Proposed Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Reservation Plan, January 24, 1982.)
Since restoration, and with the help of monies that are allocated to new tribes, the Paiute Tribe has been trying to improve their socioeconomic situation. The most noticeable advance has been in the area of education, but this and other programs still lack adequate funding. The following summarizes the current socioeconomic status of the tribe.
Education -- When restoration occurred in 1980, only four tribal members were graduated from an institution of higher learning. Since then, up to 63 people have been enrolled in one term, and many members have graduated from two-year and technical schools. Education support however, is limited to those 18-35 years old. Money is not available to provide assistance to those over 35 or, in fact, to many within the 18-35 range. Also, tribal members do not attend out-of-state colleges so that educational benefit can be maximized with in-state tuition.
Before 1980, the dropout rate for school children was over 40 percent. This has been reduced to about 8 percent, direct result of the Tribe's social service and educational programs. The Tribe sponsors many summer programs for children as well. However, Johnson O'Malley Act funds have been eliminated and the Tribe's summer programs for 1983 -- including tutoring, educational field trips, Paiute language classes, and Paiute arts and crafts -- has been cancelled.
Housing -- In 1981, HUD appropriated money to meet an immediate need of 22 single family houses for tribal members. Because of funding and contractual complications, these units were not built. Many families live together and in some instances as many as five families live in one house. The need for additional housing still exists and no funding sources are readily available. Some members of the Tribe continue to live in homes that are primarily heated by coal or wood, do not have hot or cold running water, and do not have indoor toilet facilities.
Unemployment -- Unemployment of tribal members is still about 45 percent. The Tribe is trying to reduce this with apprenticeship programs and a job placement program. Economic development funds are needed to help the Tribe identify and fund economic development opportunities that will translate into jobs for tribal members as well as opportunities for other local people.
Social Programs -- Many tribal members are and have been eligible for state assistance, such as low income assistance, AFDC, social security and so on. They have not applied for these programs because they did not know how. With an organized tribal government, the tribe is helping its members by helping them through the maze of paperwork, helping them with legal problems, and making them aware of their eligibility. Transportation of eligible members to apply for such a program continues to be a major problem.
Health -- The tribe is 80-100 percent health deficient. Transportation remains a major problem. The closest IHS facility is at Fort Duchesne, which is over 300 miles away. The Paiute Tribe was recently raised from Level V to Level IV. This did not occur because the tribe is healthier or received more money. It happened because the formula to determine level was changed. Tribal members are therefore in better health statistically, but not physically. The results of this change will be less funding available to meet the health needs of the Tribe.
Alcoholism -- This continues to be a problem for the tribe. There is a very good alcohol recovery program in Cedar City, but it is also expensive. Also, it does not provide treatment for women, who must go to Fort Duchesne or Provo. The Tribe has been trying to establish a support group similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, but has no money to fund the program.
Paiute Culture -- Interest in Paiute culture was scattered and sporadic before restoration. Now, many young people are beginning to show an interest in their culture. The Tribe works closely with the college in their culture programs, and holds yearly restoration gatherings.
Tribal Organization -- Since restoration, a good tribal government has been established. Most members of the tribal council were members of the Interim Tribal Council and have served the tribe since restoration. The Tribe has adopted a constitution and bylaws, and enrollment is increasing every year. The Tribe runs community service block grant programs which provide emergency services for tribal members. They are also running a low-income energy assistance program which was recognized as one of the best run programs in the state this year.
The Southern Paiute people traditionally lived in an area encompassing what is now southern Utah, northern Arizona, southern Nevada, and southeastern California. They lived in small groups composed of extended families, usually near a spring or stream. With years of experience in coping with a sometimes hostile environment, the Paiutes achieved an ecological accord with the plant and animal resources available to them.
Although the Southern Paiutes were wanderers -- hunting, fishing, and gathering berries and roots -- they regularly returned to their home base to tend harvest crops. Often, the bands had different summer and winter quarters. For example, Fish Lake was the summer quarters for many members of the tribe. They camped and held ceremonies on the south shore, and used the Lake for hunting and fishing. Wild potatoes and berries abounded in the area, and fish from the lake was a substantial part of their food supply. Fish was dried in baskets and stored for winter use.
Sun dances were held in the summer months and other tribes came from great distances to participate. These festivities often lasted a week or more. Before the harsh winters descended on Fish Lake, tribal members moved south to Loa, where the winters were less severe.
Initial meetings before Europeans and the Southern Paiutes were recorded by the Dominguez and Escalante Expedition. This small party of Spanish explorers left Santa Fe in 1776 to look for a feasible overland route to the Monterey, California, missions. Their meetings with the Native Americans were generally friendly, and the journals of Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante give the first written account of the traditional life of the Southern Paiutes.
In the decades following the Dominguez and Escalante Expedition, Spanish traders began to expand their operations into Southern Paiute and Ute territory. A flourishing slave trade developed between the Spaniards and the Utes, and both raided Piute encampments and captured women and children to sell as slaves.
The opening of the Spanish Trail in the early 1800's had a significant impact on the Paiutes. Early travelers along the trail were generally not bothered by the Paiutes. However, as the trade traffic along the Spanish Trail grew, so did the slave raids and Paiute resistance to the intrusions increased. Slavery had once been an occasional, unpredictable practice, but the Spanish Trail made it an annual threat to the Southern Paiutes. It was a profitable and successful business. Indian agent Garland Hurt in 1850 commented that scarcely one-half of the Southern Paiute children were raised in their own bands.
The fear of slave raids became so pervasive that when strangers were seen in the area, all but the old and disabled fled to hide in the hills, disrupting all aspects of a life-style that was precariously balanced with the forces of nature.
The blazing of the Spanish Trail brought other disruptions. From about 1830 to 1850, pack trains became yearly occurrences. These included large herd drives to and from California. The grazing herds ruined Paiute agricultural fields and caused serious damage to the riverbeds and springs by depleting grasses and other plant life along the route.
Since the Piute bands were relatively small and were not warlike, they avoided the caravans, waylaying stray cattle to help compensate for the loss of food supplies and occasionally raiding caravans and immigrant trains. Because the bands were isolated from each other and because their homelands could not support large numbers, combining for mutual protection would have been difficult and disruptive of their lifestyle. But the alternative measures of moving their farms and modifying their gathering patterns to accommodate the annual caravans were just as disruptive. The Paiute bands occasionally associated in larger groups for such activities as cooperative hunting, and they had a common language and lifestyle. However, it was the steady pressure of the immigrants that finally forced the Southern Paiutes to develop larger and more clearly defined bands, both for survival and for associating with he immigrant leaders, who insisted on dealing with "chiefs."
The Spanish Trail also opened the area to Mormon immigrants, who rapidly appropriated the lands most suitable for agriculture and further depleted lands that were available to the Paiutes.
The first official contact between the Federal government and the Southern Paiute bands came in 1856, when George W. Armstrong arrived in the area to examine the conditions of the Piutes. He found that the more northern bands, including those living near Cedar City, were already dependent upon the Mormons for a great many things. Traditional agriculture was still practiced among the more southern bands. In his report, he recommended that suitable farmlands be kept as reserves for the southern bands and that competent farmers be employed to instruct them in agricultural pursuits and other skills. This recommendation was made at a time when government policy was to establish reservations for Native Americans, but apparently no government action was taken.
By the time Armstrong visited the Southern Paiutes, they were already displeased with the U.S. government and disturbed y the increasing stream of trespassers traveling through their country. Armstrong assured the Paiutes of the government's friendship and its protection of their rights as long as they remained peaceable. But little came of his assurances.
Soon after Armstrong's visit, the Federal government made an effort to consolidate all the Utah Native Americans onto one reservation. Such a policy had long been advocated by the settlers in Utah. As a part of these consolidation efforts, a treaty was negotiated with a handful of Southern Utah Paiute members in September 1865, who were not representatives of the entire tribe. This was part of the June 18, 1865, Spanish Fork Treaty signed by the Utes. By this treaty, the Southern Utah Paiutes would move to the Uintah Reservation and confederate with other Utah Native Americans. A meager compensation was included in the treaty, most of which was to go to signers of the treaty. The treaty, however, was never ratified by the Senate.
Although this effort to consolidate the Southern Utah Paiute bands with other tribes failed, the government did not abandon the idea. In 1873, a special commission headed by John Wesley Powell and G.W. Ingalls was sent into the area to see reservation sites for those Great Basin tribes that did not have reservations. It was not economically feasible to establish a reservation for each band within its own territorial area. There was also not enough good agricultural land left unoccupied by non-Indians to establish one single reservation in Southern Utah. The Southern Utah Paiutes were left with the choice of moving to the recently established Moapa Reservation in Nevada or doing without. Some Paiutes moved to Moapa, but most stayed in their traditional area.
In his 1873 report, Powell stated the problems that would undoubtedly develop if the Paiutes were not isolated from the white settlers:
Nothing then remains but to let them stay in their present condition to be finally extinguished by want, loathsome disease and the disasters consequent upon incessant conflict with white men.
It appears that this nearly became the fate of the Paiutes. From the end of the Powell-Ingalls Commission visit until the 1890's, the Southern Utah Paiutes were apparently forgotten by the federal government and promises made earlier by the government' representatives were not fulfilled. During this period of Federal neglect, aid received from the Mormon Church helped the Paiutes exist.
The many earlier Paiute bands in Southern Utah coalesced into five bands -- Shivwits, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Cedar City. The first account of any official government action taken on behalf of any of the Southern Utah Piute Bands was in 1891, when Congress authorized the purchase of improvements on lands situated along the Santa Clara River near St. George. This land was formally established as a reservation for the Shivwits Band by the Secretary of the Interior in 1903 and enlarged by executive order in 1916 and by Congress in 1937.
The Indians Peaks Reservation was established by executive order in 1915 and was enlarged in 1921, 1923, and 1924. In 1928, a reservation was established for the Koosharem Band and was enlarged in 1937. The Kanosh Reservation was the last reservation formally established in Southern Utah. It was created by Congress in 1929 and enlarged in 1935 and 1937.
In 1899 and again in 1925, money was appropriated to purchase land for the Cedar City Band. However, this money was never spent and was returned to surplus. In the interim, the Cedar City Women's Relief Society of the Mormon Church purchased land for use by the band. The lots occupied by the Cedar City Band became known as "Indian Village."
The establishment of the Paiute band reservations at this time was somewhat unusual. In the 1880's, Congress adopted the policy of allotment and assimilation, exemplified by the 1887 General Allotment Act (Dawes Act). Under the Act, tribal reservation land was to be transferred from the tribes to individual members. The theory of allotment was that individual responsibility would be taught by ownership of land. This, in turn, would speed assimilation of the Native American into the dominant white culture. In addition, tribal land not allotted to individuals would be declared "surplus" and therefore open for homesteading by white settlers.
The appropriations made for the Cedar City Band and for the Shivwits and Indian Peaks Reservations came during the height of the allotment policy. By the time the Koosharem and Kanosh Reservations were established, the allotment policy was recognized as a failure, and had largely been discontinued in practice. However, it was only the Koosharem and Kanosh Bands that actually received some allotted lands. Although they had no reservation that could have been parcelled out during the allotment policy period, some members did receive individual allotments.
During the 1920's, Federal Indian policy was going through a change. The problems inherent in the allotment policy had become apparent. The attempt to impose an unfamiliar lifestyle and the reduction of government services resulted in cultural fragmentation and destruction. As a result, allotment worked to increase dependency rather than reduce it. By the 1920's, the policy was no longer being implemented.
In 1926, the Department of the Interior authorized a study of the overall condition of Native Americans. The findings of this study were published in 1928 as The Problem of Indian Administration. This report, widely known as the Meriam Report after its editor, made many recommendations, among them the official discontinuation of the allotment policy.
The allotment policy continued at a gradually diminishing rate until Federal policy changed in 1934 with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act (Wheeler-Howard Act). The IRA prohibited unrestricted sales of Native American lands and allowed for acquisition of additional lands for tribal and individual use. This act attempted to steer the Native Americans toward economic self-sufficiency by providing for the establishment of constitutional tribal governments, by extending credit from Federal funds, and by encouraging tribal enterprise and modern conservation and resource development.
The Indian Reorganization Act was the rudimentary beginning of the termination programs of the 1940's and 1950's. In his History of Indian Policy (1972), S. Lyman Tyler summarizes the policy presented in the Act:
Under the IRA, the United States again reversed its position by bringing its program to individualize its relation with the Indian to an end and instead revitalizing tribal organization and Indian communal life. Tribal leaders were strengthened and the formation of government bodies was encouraged. The long range policy favoring eventual assimilation remained the same.
The specific goals of this policy were stated by John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in a Commissioner's Circular:
The Indian Office is moving from guardian to advisor, from administrator to friend-in-court. In this transition, many powers hitherto exercised by the Indian Service have been transferred to the organized tribes; many more such powers will be transferred. As Indians advance in self-government, they will begin to provide many of their own technical and social services, or will depend more and more on the services ordinarily provided in American communities. I think we can agree, however, that federal advisory supervision ought not to be withdrawn until Indians have attained a fair political, economic and cultural equality equivalent to that guaranteed by the four freedoms.
The Indian Reorganization Act applied on reservations unless a majority of adult Native Americans voted against it. The only Southern Utah Paiute bands that organized under the IRA were the Shivwits and the Kanosh. In 1940, the Shivwits band set up a constitution and bylaws, and in 1943 the Kanosh band did the same. However, there is little evidence that having a legally recognized tribal government did much to improve their condition, as anticipated by the IRA. There was no shifting of responsibility, since the BIA offered few services anyway.
Recognizing that the Indians have been involuntarily dispossessed of their land, the Indian Claims Commission was formed in 1946 to handle Indian claims against the government. According to the provisions of the Claims Commission, if an Indian suit was successful, the Indians were to be paid by the government for their land at the price of the land at the time it was seized. This was to include the value of the agricultural and mineral wealth of the land.
In 1951, the Southern Utah Paiutes filed a claims suit with the Indian Claims Commission. A separate suit was filed by the Nevada Southern Paiutes, but these claims were later combined. It was not until 1965 that the Commission made its final judgment. The claims money was not actually distributed until 1971.
From the court proceedings available to the public, there were several notable aspects of the case. The precise value of the land was not determined. A compromise settlement was arranged by the Paiute lawyers in which the government agreed not to add up offsets against the Paiutes (money or aid given the Paiutes by the government) if the lawyer fixed a "reasonable" sum for the land. Determining the value of the area and the date of taking would have taken considerable time and expense, and this compromise allowed a faster resolution of the case. It is not clear, however, which of the two parties, the lawyers or the Paiutes, benefited most from the early settlement of the case. In the final judgment, the Paiutes were awarded $8,250,000 or 29,935,000 acres of land. This amounts to about 27c per acre.
The boundaries of the Paiute territory were described only roughly, and the date of taking was never precisely determined. The matter of the taking date was of considerable importance in fixing fair market value because, ordinarily, market value increases with time. It is probable that had the taking date, the value of the land at the time of the taking, and the boundaries of the Paiute territory been precisely determined, the settlement would have been greater.
Funds were disbursed to individual members, with a payment of $7,522 to each adult and the same amount placed in a trust fund for each minor. (The total settlement included payments to Nevada Southern Paiutes as well as to the Southern Utah bands.) A social and economic survey of the Southern Paiutes was undertaken by the Department of the Interior in 1968. It was found that the average family income was only $2,746, with large differences from family to family. Some families received less than $1,000 per year. Although the award granted by the Indian Claims Commission was an acknoledgment of unfair past practices, the settlement claim did little to help the Paiute people gain equal footing with their white neighbors.
With the end of World War II, Federal government officials began to push for the complete self-sufficiency of Native Americans and the withdrawal of all governmental aid within a definite period of time. Afer 1953, this accelerated policy became known as "termination". The policy reflected the feeling of Congress that previous programs had failed to rid the government of responsibility for Native Americans. If Native Americans continued their dependence on the government, perhaps the only alternative was to withdraw support quickly and completely, with the hope that the Native Americans would provide for their own needs.
In 1954, Congress passed termination legislation that included the Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands of the Utah Paiute Indian Tribe. The Cedar City Band seems to have been overlooked, probably because it had no reservation. Although it remained under Federal control, it suffered de facto termination because no services were delivered to the band by the BIA.
The four bands were included in the termination legislation even though they were not considered ready for termination in any studies or recommendations made previously. In 1947, Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs William Zimmerman submitted to a Senate Committee a termination timetable for thee groups of tribes: those ready for immediate termination of Federal services, those ready in 10 years, and those for which no date could be determined. The Paiute bands were not included in any of these groups. In 1953, the Bureau of Indian Affairs prepared a list of tribes, bands, and groups that BIA field agencies considered ready to manage their own affairs. The Kanosh, Koosharem, and Shivwits Bands were deemed unprepared for termination, and the Indian Peaks Band was judged to be ready only upon fulfillment of certain unspecified conditions. In 1953, House Concurrent Resolution 108 listed tribes for which termination should begin immediately. The Paiutes were again not included.
The House and Senate Subcommittees, in determining the Indian tribes and Bands to be included in the 1954 termination legislation, alleged to have consistently applied four criteria: degree of acculturation, economic condition of the bands, attitudes of the Native Americans toward termination, and attitudes of local and state officials. The four Paiute bands had no significant degree of acculturation. They had no significant economic resources. Although many members of the bands apparently consented to termination, their consent may have assumed certain conditions not actually included in the termination bill.
Two Utah Shoshone Bands initially considered for termination with the Paiutes were excluded from the legislation because they did not fully meet the basic criteria. There apparently was no significant difference between the Shoshones and Paiutes in degree of acculturation and economic condition. One important difference was that the Shoshones expressed their dissatisfaction with termination and requested that they not be terminated. This implies that consent was the major factor when the Committee decided which bands were to be terminated in apparent disregard of the other criteria of acculturation and economic condition.
S.D. Aberle, Executive Director of the Commission on Rights, Liberties, and Responsibilities of the American Indian and former Superintendent of the United Pueblo Agency, met with the four bands in 1958. She asked why they did not object to termination during the hearings in 1954. One person responded as follows:
Senator Watkins said when he talked to us about termination that taxes would be taken care of, that we would not have to be under the limitation of wheat acreage, that we could plant as much as we liked, but this has not been true.
With the exception of cancellation of loans and mortgages, none of the promises apparently made to the bands were written into the termination legislation.
Ms. Aberle ended her report with this comment:
Some of the evils predicted by those who opposed quick termination of Indians who have been judged by B.I.A. as not ready for termination, can be seen in this small group of Paiutes. Two meetings with one-third of the members of the four bands brought out various difficulties.
One crucial problem is that terminated Indians do not automatically become average non-Indian citizens, with birth certificates, social security numbers, recorded land deeds and a command of English and know-how which allows them to operate in white society. They have difficulty in knowing how to register to vote, how to comply with government regulations for fishing or hunting licenses, how to obtain a Farmers Home loan or Soil Conservation Service assistance or other benefits the Federal or state government offers its citizens. So termination actually puts them in the class something like the newly-arrived peasant immigrants.
Therefore, the policy statement of Congress "... to make Indians ... subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges as are applicable to citizens of the United States," from any realistic evaluation, is not accomplished by the legislation passed for this purpose.
This miscarriage of policy and intent is brought about by the speed with which termination was undertaken, lack of explaining the problems to the Indians, lack of a consideration for the Indians' wishes or their needs, and the disregard or absence of consent from the Indians themselves.
Upon termination, the bands were left with marginal land and little else. At the joint hearing before the subcommittees of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs on February 15, 1954, Harry Gilmore, Superintendent of the Uintah and Ouray Agency, was asked whether all 27 members of the Koosharem Band could live on their reservation. He responded:
As far as making a living on the reservation is concerned, no, sir, it would be impossible. The land is so poor ... that this is one reservation about which we never had any inquiries regarding renting the lands for grazing. It seems that nobody wants any of them for grazing purposes.
Because the bands were not integrated into the white man's society, they were uninformed about the legal requirements of land ownership. Some reservation lands were lost through nonpayment of property taxes. Trustees advised that other lands be sold so the bands could realize at least some income before the land was lost through nonpayment of taxes.
Some of the 4,280 acres held by the Kanosh Band were parcelled out to individual members; eventually all but 55 acres of it were sold or lost because of nonpayment of property taxes. The Koosharem Band lost all 400 acres of its land because of unpaid taxes. The 8,960 acres held by the Indian Peaks Band were sold.
The Shivwits Band retained 26,680 acres of land, which was held in trust for them by a local bank. This land was retained by the band despite the efforts of the band's trustee to sell it. Upon reading of a pending sale of the land in the local newspaper, the band, with the aid of local non-Indians, was able to halt the sale and raise enough money to pay the property taxes. Almost all of the Shivwits' land was subsequently leased to local non-Indian ranchers for grazing and gravel mining. The fees apparently covered only the property taxes.
Experience showed that termination was not a solution for the problems facing Native Americans. Only 3 percent of all tribes were terminated, but the impacts on these tribes were devastating. Congress has subsequently attempted to correct this error by restoring Federal recognition to some terminated tribes. In the 93rd Congress, legislation was enacted restoring Federal recognition to the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, which had been terminated in 1954. The Siletz Tribe of Oregon was restored to Federal recognition in 1977, and the Modoc, Wyandotte, Peoria, and Ottawa Indians of Oklahoma were restored in mid-1978.
On April 3, 1980, the 96th Congress passed Public Law 96-227, the "Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Restoration Act." The purpose of this act is to restore the Federal trust relationship to the Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands of Paiute Indians of Utah and to restore or confirm the same relationship to the Cedar City Band. The Restoration Act makes the Paiute Tribe and members of the tribe eligible for all services and benefits furnished to Federally recognized Indian tribes.
Since termination resulted in the Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands losing their reservation lands, and since the Cedar City Band never had a reservation, the Restoration Act provides for development of a reservation plan by the Secretary of the Interior. Land owned or held in trust for the band has been taken in the name of the United States in trust for the tribe or band as part of the reservation. In addition, the plan can include acquisition of up to 15,000 acres of land (the approximate acreage lost upon termination) to be selected from available public, state, or private lands within Beaver, Iron, Millard, Sevier, or Washington Counties, Utah.
The Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to submit the plan to Congress in the form of proposed legislation by April 3, 1982.
The Restoration Act also specifies enrollment procedures to identify and verify the official tribal membership. Enrollment was completed in August 1981, with a total official tribal membership of 503. The Act mandates the development of a constitution and bylaws for the tribe. The constitution was developed during 1981, adopted by a majority vote of eligible tribal voters on October 1, 1981, and approved by the Secretary of the Interior on October 8, 1981.
After termination, the bands continued to perform self-governing functions, either through elected representatives or in meetings of the bands' general membership. No tribal government existed. To oversee enrollment and development of a constitution and bylaws, the Restoration Act required the election of a six-member Interim Tribal Council (ITC) to be the acting tribal governing body until tribal officials were elected under the adopted constitution. An Interim Tribal Council was accordingly elected on May 31, 1980, to govern the tribe during implementation of the Act. A Tribal Council was elected to replace the Interim Council on October 24, 1981.
Restoration has made a great difference to individuals, the bands, and the tribe as a whole. They are now eligible for benefits under certain programs administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, such as Johnson-O'Malley Act funds for elementary and secondary school children and BIA scholarships for post-secondary education or tribal youth. Members are also eligible for the health services provided by the Indian Health Service. Establishment of a reservation could provide a long-term income source to the tribe ensuring the permanent existence of a tribal government capable of addressing the tribe's social and economic problems,. With development of the reservation, increased employment opportunities will promote the self-sufficiency of tribal members. Just as important to the Paiute people is the fact that this legislation will restore to them their dignity and identity as members of the Paiute Nation.
Reservation Planning Process
The reservation planning process began in September 1980 when tribal representatives and the Bureau of Indian Affairs met with Governor Scott Matheson to discuss implementation of the Restoration Act. This was followed in November 1980 by informational meetings between tribal representatives and the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Utah Congressional delegation.
Early in 1981, the Interim Tribal Council began its consideration of the steps to be taken in the formulation of a reservation plan. The Phoenix Area Office of the BIA designated several staff representatives to work with the tribe on the project; however, the need for additional assistance was identified.
In February, the Interim Tribal Council engaged CH2M HILL as planning consultants to the reservation planning project. After receiving a detailed orientation by the Interim Tribal Council, CH2M HILL planners prepared a work program for the development of the plan. This work program, adopted by the Interim Tribal Council, defined the approach to be taken and provided for integration of work being done by the Interim Tribal Council, the tribal legal council, and CH2M HILL. It also included the involvement of various governmental agencies and interest groups at key points in the program.
On February 28 and March 1, 1981, a tribal retreat was held in Salt Lake City, attended by the Interim Tribal Council, leaders of each band, BIA representatives, and CH2M HILL. General policy issues were discussed, and general tribal goals were determined to clarify the tribe's priorities and to provide direction to the consultant.
Three major goals to be accomplished by the reservation plan became clear: (1) to reestablish "homelands" for each of the bands where band facilities could be constructed and where band members could develop their own economic opportunities; (2) to provide a long-term source of income for the tribe to ensure the permanent existence of its tribal government, to provide seed monies for tribal enterprises, and to provide necessary services for tribal members; and (3) to reacquire traditional lands of the tribe where tribal members could gather for activities.
The plan was begun with the preparation of a historical review of the tribe (see Chapter 3 of the plan), and an inventory of existing conditions in the five-county area. ...
Copyright 2006 by Ardis E. Parshall
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